The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club has announced the 71st edition of the Bermuda Gold Cup match racing tournament, an official world championship event of the 2023 World Match Racing Tour, scheduled Oct. 2-7 on Hamilton Harbour, just off the docks of the 178-year-old club.

The King Edward VII Gold Cup
Photo: Ian Roman/WMRT

The King Edward VII Gold Cup, the championship trophy, was presented by King Edward VII at the Tri-Centenary Regatta at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1907. A highly prestigious trophy with a rich tradition it was the only King’s Cup ever to be offered for competition in the United States, which could be won outright, and is the oldest match racing trophy in the world for competition involving one-design yachts.

The Bermuda Gold Cup was last held in Oct. 2020, when it was also the Open Match Racing World Championship. In that final, Taylor Canfield’s (Miami, Florida) STARS + STRIPES Team USA defeated Ian Williams (Lymington, England) and crew in an aggressive match filled with penalties to capture his third Bermuda Gold Cup and second Open Match Racing World Championship. Both skippers are in the preliminary entrant list for this year’s regatta, a world championship event of the World Match Racing Tour.

“We’re absolutely delighted to have the Bermuda Gold Cup back on the international sailing calendar,” said Jon Corless, a Past Commodore of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and the chairperson of this year’s Gold Cup. “It was a challenge to pull off the 2020 Gold Cup in the year of Covid, and the virus had a lasting impact the past couple of years in Bermuda. We’re looking forward to a competitive regatta with many familiar faces, the world’s top match racers.”

The intended field of 16 teams includes Canfield and Williams, who’ve combined for five Gold Cup championships, and Chris Poole’s (Cold Spring Harbor, New York) Riptide Racing, the winner of the recent Congressional Cup in California where he went undefeated in 24 races.

Ian Williams (GBR) China.One Ningbo
Photo: Ian Roman/WMRT
Chris Poole (USA)/ Riptide Racing
Photo: Ian Roman/WMRT

Long-time skippers Johnnie Berntsson (Stenungsund, Sweden), a two-time champion and four-time runner-up, and Eric Monnin (Immensee, Switzerland) are also set to return. The duo, together with Williams, are among the all-time competitors at the Gold Cup, with a combined 39 appearances between them.

Other confirmed entrants include Frenchwoman Pauline Courtois (Brest, France) and her Match in Pink by Normandy Elite Team, who return for their third consecutive Gold Cup. Two other entrants are Jeppe Borch’s (Copenhagen, Denmark) Borch Racing Team and Harry Price’s (Sydney, Australia) Down Under Racing. Borch (2020) and Price (2019) are the past two recipients of the Jordy Walker Memorial Trophy, awarded to the most improved sailor at the regatta, and both are back for their second trip to the Gold Cup.

Pauline Courtois (FRA)/ Match in Pink
Photo: Ian Roman/WMRT
Bermuda Gold Cup racing in Hamilton Harbour
Photo: Ian Roman/WMRT
The preliminary entrant list also includes a quartet of skippers who’ll be competing in Bermuda for the first time: Ted Blowers’s (Great Britain) Team Absolute, Nick Egnot-Johnson’s (New Zealand) Knots Racing, Peter Holz’s (Chicago, Illinois) Wind City Racing and Dave Hood’s (Long Beach, California) DH3 Racing.

Egnot-Johnson, the reigning match racing world champion, was scheduled to make his debut in 2020 but was unable to attend due to the Covid pandemic. One entrant will be the winner of the Oakcliff International, scheduled Sept. 5-9, in Oyster Bay, New York.

The regatta will be sailed in the 33-foot International One-Design (IOD) sloop, a 1936 design with a long bow and stern overhangs and a keel-hung rudder. The format for the regatta will consist of a round-robin, repechage, quarterfinal, semifinal, petite final and final rounds.

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